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The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

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054

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England

gkat_054.pdf51° 24 53.1 N, 2° 7 1.85 W

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William Henry Fox Talbot

William Henry Fox Talbot invented the positive/negative photography technique while living at Lacock Abbey. He was a contemporary of Frenchman Louis Daguerre, who created the daguerreotype around the same time. Talbot’s invention allowed multiple prints to be made from a negative; Daguerre’s method created only a single image.

Initially, Talbot did not use a positive/negative: all his photographs were negatives. He made light-sensitive paper and used it to create contact prints: the object to be photographed (for example, a piece of lace) was placed in contact with the paper (or separated from it with a sheet of glass) and exposed to sunlight. This created a negative image that he termed a photogenic drawing.

Later, in 1841, he used these negatives to create positive prints by first taking a negative photograph, and then taking a photograph of the negative using the same technique. This he termed the calotype process. With one negative he could then make many positive prints.

In 1844, Talbot published the first book containing photographs. The Pencil of Nature contained just 24 photographs ...

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